Cat McCluskey is one of the Feast veterans who will perform in “Heard It Through the Grapevine” this summer.
In a small town, truth can be stranger – and funnier – than fiction.
Feast Dinner Theatres brings audiences into the heart of one such P.E.I. town in its latest production, “Heard It Through the Grapevine.”
This summer show centres on the 100th anniversary celebrations of “Potatoville.” When the proud long-serving mayor resigns, a popular farmer and town councillor runs against the local Zamboni driver for the venerated mayoral post. That’s when a dubious campaign and the local rumour mill begin.
In the midst of this small-town election, guests enjoy a P.E.I. summer feast, some favourite ‘60s and modern tunes, and the comedic antics of Potatoville’s finest citizens and busybodies.
Artistic director Sherri-Lee Darrach says Potatoville does not represent a single place but an amalgam of all that’s characteristic and funny about small-town P.E.I.
“If we’re not from there, we all know a place like it,” Darrach says with a laugh.
She says the focus on local nuances and humour reflects a larger trend in Island theatre to celebrate life on P.E.I.
“We’re proud of being from here,” she says. “The best theatre comes from that. That’s why ceilidhs are packed.”
Darrach and musical director, Adam MacGregor, rave about the script produced by Mike Allison, a Feast veteran who now writes for CBC’s award-winning “This Hour Has 22 Minutes.”
“It’s not very often we’re reading a script for the first time and we’re laughing our heads off,” MacGregor notes.
“It’s straight-up funny,” Darrach agrees.
Darrach says the characters are both familiar and engaging: a beloved long-serving mayor, a popular four-wheeling farmer, a fastidious administrator, a hard-working underappreciated guy-next-door, and an unwelcome CFA (come-from-away) and shameless flirt.
MacGregor suggests the script and improv will exaggerate some small-town qualities and share the truth about others.
“That’s what makes it fun,” he says. “We can laugh at ourselves.”
“Heard It Through the Grapevine” is produced by Don Groom of White Rose Entertainment.
The show opens Friday, June 20, at Brothers 2 in Summerside and Saturday, June 21, at Rodd Charlottetown and runs Tuesdays through Saturdays until Aug. 29. The meal features P.E.I. mussels, bread, chicken or seafood entrée, vegetables and dessert.
Regular tickets cost $34.99 and up, with discounts for seniors and groups. Those who buy early can take advantage of a pre-season sale: up to $15 off tickets purchased May 28-30 and up to $10 off tickets bought June 3-6. Buy a pair of tickets during the sale and receive a $10 gift certificate towards a meal at Rodd Charlottetown or Brothers 2. All Canada Day tickets will be $19.99 during the sale. Call the box office at 436-7674 (Summerside) or 629-2321 (Charlottetown).